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India – Pakistan: Seven Decades Hence

India – Pakistan: Seven Decades Hence

By Ridhima Aneja

Edited by Namrata Caleb

A progressive sight was captured in Oslo in October this year as two people won the Noble Peace Prize. These people weren’t just merely two global citizens, they were- An Indian and a Pakistani, a Hindu and a Muslim. Their struggle held significance not just for their struggle in advocating girls’ rights and an end to child trafficking and child labour but also symbolized the forging of  a common struggle against extremism and the promotion of Education and Basic Human Rights.

How often do we after a seven decade long bloody misguided rivalry between India and Pakistan, see two people of these nations on the same stage displaying their active engagement in the fight for equality and peace and not merely talking of a peaceful association?

The award ceremony came into global spotlight after a week of hostilities along the border of the disputed region of Kashmir- also regarded by many, as the worst collision between the two nuclear- armed nations in more than ten years.

But even after seven decades the relationship between India and Pakistan remains intransigent. Four wars have been fought since the bloodstained and gory partition and till date the two countries remain at loggerheads.

The reason for this intractable relationship maybe based on two arguments- one that peace negotiations in terms of a better economy, bilateral trade settlements, environmental issues are being adjourned till the Kashmir issue is settled and with the excuse of the Kashmir issue many political and defence establishments are trying to derail the process in the present and have done the same in the past. Some people are also of the view that the historic wars between the two countries have left indelible marks on the minds of millions of Indians and Pakistanis and neither side wishes to resolve any issue with each other and this war with Pakistan is nothing but a permanent and existential battle.

A pernicious and catastrophic disequilibrium has emerged and it’s imperative that we find a way to our roots- where humankind did not recognise the geographical boundaries between the two countries. The path can be drawn back by trying to find cooperating elements between the governments of the two nations and establish the basis of the relationship on non-security issues.

Kashmir has remained since time immemorial a serious bone of contention and India states a legal claim on the territory and Pakistan denies it on grounds of a promise made by Jawahar Lal Nehru to have a   United Nations administered poll in 1956. This promise was however not kept. Sadly for Pakistan, Kashmir is not coming to them soon like a prize on a platter and its wars with India provide evidence that India’s military prowess is far greater than that of Pakistan which makes them unable to coerce India into ceding Kashmir.

The Modi wave sighted slight hope in improvement of relations with the neighbouring country. Modi and Sharif’s continuous attempts in forging a friendly relationship may have disturbed the terrorist clans and angered them and might have been one of the reasons of the recent clashes on the Line Of Control.

For the time being, after a suppressed military response from the Indian military side because of the Congress led government, India is now pursuing a one on one strategy and is willing to respond to aggression with aggression.  The NATO Drawdown in Afghanistan is also a source of tension for the two countries as it may result in an influx of militants into Kashmir.

 A glint of optimism can only be seen if the countries begin cooperating on non- security issues and non- zero sum issues. These may be issues relating to fuel, gas, energy, water, environment conservation and trade ties. If the two countries cooperate on more non-security issues it heightens the probability for the two countries to associate at a deeper level in the future. While this may not help the enduring rivalry between Indian and Pakistan, capable and dept diplomacy on non security issues like energy, humanitarian subjects, climate change and trade can possibly steer Pakistan and India towards a more cooperative and less hostile relationship.

16 December 2014 also has been etched in the chapters of history as a day when children in Peshawar, Pakistan were killed in a siege in a school in the city. It is at times like these when Indians and Pakistanis, remain no more than human. The children were our children too. It is at times like these when India must show its support and solidarity to Pakistan and all citizens of both countries must awaken their conscience. This incident proved today the fact that we live in an age of guided missiles and misguided men. May this incident shock and change forever all those who support mindless killing of innocents. It is time to regain sanity. A brush with terrorism and extremism brings unprecedented trauma to even those who are not remotely related to the situation.

This incident has occurred almost a week after the Nobel Peace Prize Award Ceremony and has proved that the answer to India’s relationship with Pakistan does not lie in a political labyrinth. It lies in the basic ideology of humanism. Today humanity is a diminishing reality, we live in a world where human life has no value and there’s scope only for vendetta and vengeance.

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